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Encouragement and Insight for the Adult Music Student


Recommended by Kathy Beck, a staff member in the Canton Public Library's Tech Services Department (with a photo provided by her husband, Gary Beck).

Check our other Fave Five lists, too!

Making Music for the Joy of It: Enhancing Creativity, Skills, and Musical Confidence

by Stephanie Judy
makingms.jpg Stephanie encourages adults to get into music or get back into music. At this point of your life you are in control of what kind of music you pursue and how and when you play it. She dispels some of the myths that prevent many adults from making music, as well as presenting many different strategies and methods to play music alone as well as together with others. She examines different aspects of music and what you could study with a teacher, as well as discussing ways of exploring music on your own. It made me realize how many different ways there are to enjoy music and that everyone with the desire can participate in music at the level they are comfortable with.

Tone Deaf and All Thumbs? An Invitation to Music-Making for Late Bloomers and Non-Prodigies

by Frank R. Wilson This book examines a variety of interesting ideas concerning the brain in music making. It examines how nerves control skeletal muscles to create precise movement. It explains how muscle-memory is created by repetition. It discussed how the brain perceives pitch through the ear and how the brain learns to perceive pitch and rhythm more precisely. It presents all this from a medical viewpoint, but brings it down to a laymans level so it can be understood by anyone. It is a fascinating book that gave me facts to back up the idea that I could learn piano at any age. It also gave me hope when I was struggling to do things my fingers seemed to be refusing to do.

A Left Hand Like God: A History of Boogie Woogie Piano

by Peter J. Silvester
lefthand.jpg A short history of how and where Boogie Woogie Piano developed. The stories of the Barrel House and Juke Joint players are told in this book. It tells of the travels of these players, many jumping freight trains to travel from place to place. The climax of the era was the performances of the Big Three Meade Lux Lewis, Pete Johnson, and Albert Ammons, at Carnegie Hall. It also examines many of the players who played in this style as well as the ones who carry on the tradition today. The appendix has a section describing the recordings of the era including a discography, a section of references and an index. Boogie Woogie Piano is my passion and is what brought me back to playing after more than 15 years of not touching the piano. This book gave me a great deal of insight into the music I love.

Piano Lessons: Music, Love & True Adventure

by Noah Adams
1191434.jpg This is a chronicle of a year in which radio journalist Noah Adams follows his passion to learn to play the piano. It is in the form of a month-by-month diary that describes his adventures in this pursuit. The book includes stories of his struggles and his triumphs, including the purchase his own Steinway Grand Piano. My favorite part was the story of his week at a Piano Camp. It was interesting to read of the adventures of a fellow adult trying to learn to play piano. It showed me that there are different ways to explore music. The ways that Noah Adams explored music were very different from the path that I had chosen.

Understanding Jazz: Ways to Listen

by Tom Piazza
1361034.jpg This book and its accompanying CD describes different parts of Jazz music, how to listen to them and what is being said. It includes chapters on Foreground & Background; Forms; Improvisation: Swing, Rhythm, Time and Space; The Blues; and Telling the story. In the forward, Wynton Marsalis says that music is like another language. This comment struck a chord with me. It has helped me to understand improvised music on another level and how to start to improvise in my own playing. The process of reading and listening helped me to be able to listen more deeply into the music and to make more sense of what I am hearing. Each chapter includes an extensive discography of example to further illustrate the points that were made. It would be possible to read this book many times, listening to different music each time and learning more each time.